It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
I chanced upon these two picturebook biographies by accident as I was looking for books that will fit our current reading theme which, incidentally, is about to end this week. Apparently, these two books are part of the Leaders Doing Headstand series.
Written by: Rachel Ruiz Illustrated by: Chiara Fedele
Published by: Picture Window Books (2017)
ISBN: 1515815781 (ISBN13: 9781515815785). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I have featured Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa here a few years ago (see my review here), and I am glad to find another picturebook biography on Rosa Parks. I believe the idea behind the Leaders Doing Headstand series is to personalize American leaders and present them in a more accessible way to young readers. The intention, perhaps, is to show them being engaged in activities that may be similar to what most contemporary children would do.
I did enjoy seeing Rosa as a young child, learning in the lap of her mother who was described to also love reading. Even in her youth, Rosa was shown to have a righteous way about her, despite the fact that she felt helpless acting on White boys who would bully her, push her off the road, or throw rocks at her and her friends.
Her grandparents gave her sage advice while they would go fishing at the nearby creek about standing up for what she believes in. Truth be told, I was expecting the entire narrative to revolve around a singular incident which showed Rosa Parks going fishing as a young girl, and encountering something at that point in time that was meaningful to her. But, as my teenage girl aptly stated when I told her my observation after reading the book: “Aaah, click-bait?” I had to admit that seemed fairly accurate. But the image above, did show that Rosa Parks went fishing with family members – and how significant life lessons were taught to her during that time.
Regardless, I still think this would be a good book to pair with Nikki Giovanni and Bryan Collier’s Rosa, and hopefully would also empower young readers into feeling that they, too, could fight injustice and make a difference.
When Martin Luther King Jr Wore Roller Skates
Written by: Mark Weakland Illustrated by: Patrick Ballesteros
Published by: Picture Window Books (2016)
ISBN: 1515801411 (ISBN13: 9781515801412). Book was borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Similar to my observation above, there was only one minor mention of Martin roller skating near their home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia.
In contrast to the first book, this one had a more ‘cartoony’ vibe to it, something which I am not very sure how I feel about, given the theme. But perhaps, it may also be fitting, seeing how the lives of these important people are being deliberately packaged in a way that is relatable to young children.
From the beginning of the story, Martin Luther King’s purposeful avoidance of violence and physical conflict have been highlighted. Yet, the narrative also depicted him to be human enough to feel outrage and helpless anger in the face of oppression and marked injustice.
The interesting tidbits for me were those about his childhood: when they will say grace before a meal such as the one above, or when he would play with friends in his neighbourhood, regardless of their race or skin colour.
While not my favourite MLK picturebook biography, I do think it still is worth reading and definitely a fairly good addition to your infant libraries.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: United States of America